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Sedgefield Middle School celebrates diverse student culture

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More than a dozen countries, and several languages, all represented under one roof at Sedgefield Middle School in Berkeley county.

We're in Goose Creek for our Cool School of the week.

It's not unusual to run into students from around the world at Sedgefield Middle School in Berkeley county. In fact, school leaders say that's a part of what makes Sedgefield special. Head assistant principal Donald Walton says, "We have close to 11-hundred students. We're very large and diverse population. We're represented by 17 countries. We have seven different languages spoken here at Sedgefield."

Matthew Smith, one of four guidance counselor, says English as a second language students make up 12-percent of the population, and the number continues to grow. Smith says, "Vietnam, Korea, China, Japan, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, France, one student from France. We have one student from England. It's pretty diverse." Students at Sedgefield are also from Brazil, the Philippines, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama, Venezuela. Smith says, "We live in such an area that's almost transient. We get students from everywhere. It's kind of one of the great things about our school. It's really something that makes our school kind of unique." Sixth-grade-student Ludmilla Gonleves Cruz is from Brazil. She says, "Well that's pretty much kind of cool because I know a lot of people that are Asian, and it's kind of cool to learn other languages."

New students have peer buddies. They walk around school together, and make them feel comfortable. They also sit in class with them. Eighth-grade- student Milly Baez from Dominican Republic says, "It wasn't that hard because I had a partner who helped me understand better. It makes me feel good because i'm not the only one."

Sedgefield has one ESOL teacher on staff, but other teachers on staff speak foreign languages. ESOL teacher Lia Bastida says, "We read first in English and then we practice speaking in English. We go over some words that they don't know. I help them with work that they have from other classes that maybe they don't understand, for example in science, we talked about atoms and molecules and elements." As for students who do not speak spanish, Bastida says, "We use a lot of hand, non verbal language." Jules Exciminiano, a seventh-grade-student from the Philippines says, "I guess its really cool cause in my class, there's like a mixture of many races and other cultures, and religion, and it's like really cool because I get to understand my peers and classmates more. Its pretty interesting."

During the school's Culture Night celebration, students celebrate their diversity. Yeimi Giron, an eighth-grade student from Honduras says, "I really like it because I want to be a translator when I grow up, so I want to learn different languages, and have different friends from different parts of the world, so it get to interact with them."

Sedgefield has Parent Literacy nights that focus on academics and other issues related to adolescents.

Students and staff at Sedgefield support a number of service organizations, including St. Jude's Children's Charities, Water Missions International, Relay for Life, Toys for Tots, and the Lowcountry Food Bank.

Coming up Friday on News 2 Today, we will present Sedgefield with our Cool School award.

We want to hear about the good things going on at your school. send an email to octavia at omitchell@wcbd.com, maybe your school will be the next cool school of the week.

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